Israel's Netanyahu warns US against Iran

2015-03-03 19:04
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Andrew Harnik, AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Andrew Harnik, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Tuesday against agreeing to a nuclear deal with Iran and working with a country "deeply rooted in militant Islam", saying Tehran "will always be an enemy of America".

"If the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran, that deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons - it will all but guarantee that Iran will get those nuclear weapons - lots of them," he said.

In the most anticipated speech to the US Congress by a foreign leader in years, Netanyahu said Iran's regime was "as radical as ever," could not be trusted and the deal being worked out with the United States would not block Iran's way to a bomb "but paves its way to a bomb."

"We must all stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror," he said.

Earlier, he entered the chamber to a cacophony of cheers and applause, shaking hands with dozens of lawmakers, including House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, before taking a podium and telling lawmakers he was deeply humbled.

At the start of the speech, he sought to defuse the intense politicization of his appearance, which has hardened divisions between Republicans and Democrats over the White House's approach to stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

He said he was grateful to Obama for his public and private support of Israel, including U.S. military assistance and contributions to Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system.

"I regret that some see my appearance here as political," he said. "I know that no matter which side of the aisle you sit on, you stand with Israel."

The speech escalated Netanyahu's campaign against President Barack Obama's Iran diplomacy, putting unprecedented stress on the two leaders' already strained ties.

Although given the cold shoulder by the U.S. administration, Netanyahu on Monday offered an olive branch, saying he meant no disrespect to Obama by accepting an invitation to speak to US lawmakers that was orchestrated by the president's rival Republicans.

Partial boycott

As many as 60 of the 232 members of Congress from Obama's Democratic Party sat out the address to protest what they see as a politicisation of Israeli security, an issue on which Congress is usually united.

The absence of so many lawmakers could raise political heat on Netanyahu at home two weeks before an Israeli general election. Many Israelis are wary of estrangement from a US ally that provides their country with wide-ranging military and diplomatic support.

Boehner, whose unilateral invitation to Netanyahu triggered the diplomatic storm, said on Tuesday he expected a capacity crowd to hear the speech and played down any divisions.

On Monday, Obama appeared to wave off any prospect that the bedrock US alliance with Israel might be ruined by the rancour.

Netanyahu, a right-wing politician who has played up his security credentials ahead of a closely contested 17 March election in Israel, has denied his speech would have any design other than national survival.

Netanyahu wants the Iranians stripped of nuclear projects that might be used to get a bomb - something Tehran insists it does not want. Washington deems the Israeli demand unrealistic.

Under a 2013 interim deal, the United States and five other powers agreed in principle to let Iran maintain limited uranium enrichment technologies. US National Security Adviser Susan Rice argued on Monday that this commitment could not be undone.

A deal with Iran is far from guaranteed, given US assessments that more than a decade of carrot-and-stick diplomacy with Iran might again fail to clinch a final accord.

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  john boehner  |  us  |  israel  |  iran nuclear programme

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
99 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.